The New York Times reported late Tuesday afternoon that the Justice Department is investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) “over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.” Gaetz has since confirmed that he is under federal investigation for sexual activity with women, saying the allegations are false.
“The allegations against me are as searing as they are false,” Gaetz said in an interview with Axios. “I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy.”
The Republican claims the existence of the DOJ probe was leaked to the media, as a part of a growing extortion plot.
Gaetz said in a statement Tuesday night that over the past several weeks, he and his family have become “victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name.” The money would be “in exchange for making this case go away,” Gaetz adds.
Gaetz revealed on Fox News that David McGee, now a lawyer at Beggs & Lane, is the former DOJ employee trying to shake his family down for money.
However, McGee told the Washington Post that he’s not involved and that Gaetz’s claims against him are “a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that [Gaetz] is under investigation for sex trafficking of minors.”
Gaetz’s father’s name has come up frequently in reports over the past 24 hours. In the interview with The Post, McGee said Gaetz’s father called him and had a “pleasant conversation of a dad concerned about his son and the trouble his son was in.”
Gaetz’s counters to Fox News that his “father got a text message demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away.”
His father has even worn a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch the “criminals,” Gaetz says.
The bizarre twists didn’t stop there. Tuesday night, Gaetz appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss the allegations. It turned into a strange interview. Carlson himself called it one of the “weirdest” he has ever conducted.
WATCH: Rep. Matt Gaetz responds on Tucker Carlson Tonight to allegations of sexual misconduct:
He says a former DOJ official named David McGee is trying to extort is family for money
He says that the FBI and DOJ have audio recordings that will prove his innocence. pic.twitter.com/J95AEFtxsr
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 31, 2021
Tucker’s full response post-Gaetz interview: pic.twitter.com/wEW1z4mUAp
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) March 31, 2021
Gaetz notes that while he provided flights and hotel rooms to various women during his single days, none of them were underage.
Between the allegations, investigation, alleged extortion, his father’s wire, the phone call, and the interview with Carlson — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) put it best: “Let’s get all the information” before saying more.
McCarthy did say, however, that if Rep. Gaetz is found guilty of sex trafficking, GOP leaders will remove him from his committee assignments.